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Kuwait Denies Joint Oil Development with Iran

The oil ministry in OPEC member Kuwait on Monday denied that it has started a joint oil development with neighbouring Iran.

"There is no cooperation between the two sides in this regard," said the ministry assistant undersecretary for technical affairs Ali Sabt, cited by the official KUNA news agency.

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Oil Prices Slump as U.S. Downgrade Stokes Demand Worries

Oil prices slumped more than three dollars Monday over fears of slowing energy demand in the United States after a shock credit rating downgrade for the world's biggest economy, analysts said.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate light, sweet crude for delivery in September, plunged $3.01 to $83.87 a barrel.

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Gold Strikes Record High Above $1,700

The price of gold struck a record high above $1,700 an ounce on Monday with dealers flocking to the safe haven metal as Asian stocks tumbled following Standard & Poor's downgrade of U.S. debt.

The price of gold reached $1,704.30 an ounce in Hong Kong trade.

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Mideast Markets Tumble After U.S. Credit Downgrade

Stocks are tumbling across the Middle East as most of the region's markets open for their first day of business following a historic downgrade of the United States' credit rating.

The main market index in the regional financial hub Dubai led the declines Sunday, plunging over 5 percent before rebounding slightly to a 4.4 percent drop by midday local time. Other Gulf markets also opened sharply lower.

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Swiss Consumers Ask: Why Shop in Switzerland?

Swiss officials and businesses may be fretting about the franc's rise against other currencies, but one group of people are clearly loving it: Swiss consumers.

A mere 300 metres across the border in the little French town of Ferney-Voltaire, the first sign of the franc's rise against the euro can be found at the Carrefour supermarket's parking lot, where six out of 10 cars bear Swiss licence plates.

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Nepal's Himalayan Tea Growers Turn a New Leaf

After decades spent in the shadow of their neighbours across the border in Darjeeling, Nepalese tea growers are finally laying out their own stalls in the lucrative global market for premium leaves.

Grown at high altitude in lush, emerald gardens among the foothills of the Himalayas, "orthodox" Nepalese teas are now finding their way onto the books of speciality buyers from Europe and the United States.

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Tel Aviv Exchange Halts trade After 6% Fall

Trading on Israel's Tel Aviv stock exchange was temporarily halted on Sunday after share prices fell six percent at the open on news of a U.S. credit rating downgrade, public radio reported.

Trading opened as normal on Sunday, the first day of Israel's working week, but mandatory suspensions went into effect minutes into the session as the stock exchange plunged.

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Saudi Stocks Shed 5.46% over U.S., Europe Woes

Shares shed 5.46 percent on Saturday in the first day of trading in oil-rich Saudi Arabia after the Muslim weekend, as investors reacted to the historic U.S. credit downgrading and European debt woes.

The Tadawul All-Shares Index closed 5.46 percent down, at 6,073.44 points as all shares tumbled a day after Standard & Poor's cut the U.S. credit rating for the first time in history over its massive fiscal deficit and debt load.

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Italy to Balance Budget Amid Financial Crisis

Italy pledged on Friday to work swiftly for a constitutional amendment requiring the government to balance its budget, as Rome feverishly tried to assure domestic and foreign investors its finances are sound and calm nervous markets in Europe.

Premier Silvio Berlusconi told a hastily convened evening news conference the government will "speed up measures" in its budget law approved last month by Parliament, "with the possibility of reaching a balanced budget by 2013 instead of 2014" as first planned.

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Bank Boss Says Invest in Africa to Boost World Economy

With an ailing U.S. economy, European debt battles and Japan rebuilding after a crisis, investors should be looking south -- to Africa, the head of the African Development Bank said.

Investing in the continent at a time when developed countries' economies are struggling would boost the world economy, Donald Kaberuka told Agence France Presse in an interview in Washington this week.

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